At the end of this month I am traveling back to India, a place I’ve been countless times, but this time with a new mission: to become certified to teach yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for over a decade, since my early teens when I was influenced by Madonna’s Ray of Light and her Ashtanga phase when she was busting out sun salutations during TV interviews.
Since then my practice has evolved from a trendy physical exercise to something more profound – something which has been my own ray of light through whatever darkness enveloped my life.
When I was faced with my business failing last year, I questioned my self worth and what I was meant to do in this life. I wondered not only about my greater purpose, but also how I was going to survive and feed myself. Taking a regular job filled me with dread and anxiety. I had been independent since the beginning of my career and it was within this freedom and spaciousness that I thrived.
Looking at job listings I couldn’t find anything which spoke to my soul. I felt that I would be trading my freedom and happiness for a security I wasn’t sure I needed or wanted. And for what? So I could continue to accumulate things?
This wasn’t the life I wanted. I realized I would be happier selling coconuts on the beach of a tropical island, living in hut than being a part of the rat race in a city, stuck in rush hour traffic, stressed and unhappy. I want to wake up to the wonderment of a new day and the mysteries of what unknown possibilities it may bring. I want to follow my heart. I want to flow with the rhythm of the universe and not fight for a little ledge on which to rest my beleaguered body.
Yoga gave me the keys to my freedom. It helped me unlock the shackles of the ego that had become a prison of my own creation. Yoga is much more than downward dog and lotus. The asana is just the gateway to the inner transformation that takes place when the union of mind, body, and soul are in harmony.
This is the gift I received that I feel inspired to share with anyone who wants to experience it. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than helping people to achieve equanimity so that they as well may bring more peace and love into the world.
Part of my motivation is the personal gratification of doing something which accords me freedom and independence. I can hypothetically teach anywhere in the world – I will not be tied down to one place. Life can remain an exciting mystery.
It does mean embracing uncertainty. It means that I will probably never make much money – at least in the service of yoga – and will be without the type of security my parents raised me to seek out and pursue. But I have experienced money and stability and found them hollow. I will trade these gladly for freedom and fulfillment. What more can one ask from life?